The socialist editorialists at The New York Times never miss an opportunity to miss the point.
The Times is praising the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s Obama-backed net neutrality rules that treat Internet providers like monopoly utilities. The 2-to-1 decision forbids Internet service providers to offer upgrades in delivery speeds for a price.
“The decision helps to ensure a level playing field for smaller- and start-up internet businesses because it precludes larger, established companies like Amazon and Netflix from simply paying broadband companies for faster delivery,” the editorial states. “Equally important, it ensures reliable service and choice for consumers by acknowledging that the internet, now a requisite of modern life, is akin to a utility, subject to regulation in the public interest.”
Isn’t there a public interest in food? So why do grocers charge more for beef than chicken? It’s all meat.
Forbes contributor Hal Singer labeled the decision economically illiterate.
“In an ideal regulatory regime, (1) the FCC would be compelled to apply cost-benefit analysis, showing that the benefits of the ban exceed the costs (and that no less-restrictive alternative generates even greater net benefits); and (2) a reviewing court would scrutinize the FCC’s cost-benefit analysis,” Singer writes. “Neither happened here.”
Just like the old Ma Bell had to reason to innovate, Internet providers will now have less incentive to improve services for anyone and everyone since there is no more profits to be netted.
Singer quotes a passage from the 69-page dissent of Judge Stephen Williams to make this point:
The Commission’s disparate treatment of two types of prioritization [paid peering versus paid prioritization] that appear economically indistinguishable suggests either that it is ambivalent about the ban itself or that it has not considered the economics of the various relevant classes of transactions. Or perhaps the Commission is drawn to its present stance because it enables it to revel in populist rhetorical flourishes without a serious risk of disrupting the net.
Democrats won’t stop until there is no private property left, and, once there is no private property, all other rights are in jeopardy.
As economist Milton Friedman once said:
Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government– in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.